Neutrality promotes web freedom

By Pat Kwiatkowski – Staff Writer

The Internet has become such a major part of everyday life in the last few years. Whether it be a funny video on Youtube or chatting on Twitter, many people spend hours on their electronics each day.

However, there have been recent actions taking place in the American government focused on controlling the Internet. One of the more well known bills is the Stop Online Piracy Act, or SOPA, in 2011. Introduced by Republican Representative Lamar Smith, the bill was designed to prevent copyright infringement, online trafficking and blocking certain online search engines and websites. It faced much opposition from many other companies and websites, such as Google, Youtube and Wikipedia. These companies fought against the bill on the grounds of its ability to close down several sites on the suspicion of copyright infringement.

Edward J. Black, CEO of Computer & Communications Industry Association, compared the act to having “…the power of a nuclear weapon with little of the target-accuracy.” He also pointed out that the hearings held for the bill are flawed as they include “…cybersecurity expert or Internet engineer to address the substantial technical aspect of the bill.” After several petitions and protest actions, SOPA was overturned in 2012.

However, recent political actions are still taking place concerning the Internet. It circles around the law of Net Neutrality, where governments and Internet service providers should treat Internet data equally, not discriminating by user, site, content, or system. This has been in debate ever since the start the early 2000s, with multiple companies and people supporting or against this law.

‘SaveTheInternet.com,’ an interest group in favor of Net Neutrality, states on their site that, “Net Neutrality means no discrimination. Net Neutrality prevents Internet providers from blocking, speeding up or slowing down Web content based on its source, ownership or destination…The free and open Internet brings with it the revolutionary possibility that any Internet site could have the reach of a TV or radio station. The loss of Net Neutrality would end this unparalleled opportunity for freedom of expression.”

Keep on the lookout for online petitions and websites concerning a free and open Internet. If there are those who want to shut down Net Neutrality, there needs to be people who are willing to stand up for it.

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